New York congresswoman to introduce Holocaust education bill

Apr 10, 2018
In The News

 

WASHINGTON — A New York congresswoman is set to introduce a bill to the US House of Representatives this week aimed at increasing and improving Holocaust education in the United States.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, announced on Monday that she had partnered with Jewish advocacy groups to craft the Never Again Education Act, legislation designed to give American teachers the “resources and training” to teach the Holocaust more effectively.

She is set to formally announce the measure on Tuesday in New York City, alongside representatives from B’nai B’rith International, the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America and the Association of Holocaust Organizations.

The proposed bill comes during annual Holocaust Remembrance Week.

It also comes as anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have notably surged in recent years. According to the Anti-Defamation League, such incidents jumped 57 percent from 2016 to 2017.

The FBI has also reported an increase in overall hate crimes, with 2016 marking a five-year high. The agency’s data found that there were 381 anti-Muslim crimes reported last tear (a 20% rise from 2015) and 834 anti-Jewish crimes (a 16% rise from the previous year).

Both the Jewish civil rights group and the federal law enforcement agency have noted those numbers don’t reflect the full extent of the problem, as not all local municipalities report hate crimes, though they are legally required to do so.

The ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, has said that President Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the White House — and, more specifically, his behavior on Twitter — has contributed to more segments of society feeling comfortable trafficking in unambiguously xenophobic vitriol.

“We have a situation where literally the presidential Twitter account is retweeting memes that originate on sub-reddits that are developed by some of the worst segments of society,” Greenblatt said, after the group released its data in February.

“The president’s retweeting of white supremacists and anti-Semitic memes during the campaign and … sharing tweets from a UK racist group, those are alarming,” he said. “Those tweets and rhetoric have emboldened and given encouragement to the worst anti-Semites and bigots.”

In a statement, Maloney indicated her bill had already gained bipartisan support. She said that its design is to help educators not only teach the Holocaust, but more broadly “the consequences of intolerance and hate.”